A study determining the in vivo and in vitro effects of Kihi-to on memory, neurite growth and synapse reconstruction.

by Chihiro Tohda , Rie Naito  and Eri Joyashiki

Abstract (provisional)


We previously hypothesized that achievement of recovery of brain function after the injury requires the reconstruction of neuronal networks, including neurite regeneration and synapse reformation. Kihi-to is composed of twelve crude drugs, some of which have already been shown to possess neurite extension properties in our previous studies. The effect of Kihi-to on memory deficit has not been examined. Thus, the goal of the present study is to determine the in vivo and in vitro effects of Kihi-to on memory, neurite growth and synapse reconstruction.


Effects of Kihi-to, a traditional Japanese-Chinese traditional medicine, on memory deficits and losses of neurites and synapses were examined using Alzheimer’s disease model mice. Improvements of Abeta(25-35)-induced neuritic atrophy by Kihi-to and the mechanism were investigated in cultured cortical neurons.


Administration of Kihi-to for consecutive 3 days resulted in marked improvements of Abeta(25-35)-induced impairments in memory acquisition, memory retention, and object recognition memory in mice. Immunohistochemical comparisons suggested that Kihi-to attenuated neuritic, synaptic and myelin losses in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and striatum. Kihi-to also attenuated the calpain increase in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. When Kihi-to was added to cells 4 days after Abeta(25-35) treatment, axonal and dendritic outgrowths in cultured cortical neurons were restored as demonstrated by extended lengths of phosphorylated neurofilament-H (P-NF-H) and microtubule-associated protein (MAP)2-positive neurites. Abeta(25-35)-induced cell death in cortical culture was also markedly inhibited by Kihi-to. Since NF-H, MAP2 and myelin basic protein (MBP) are substrates of calpain, and calpain is known to be involved in Abeta-induced axonal atrophy, expression levels of calpain and calpastatin were measured. Treatment with Kihi-to inhibited the Abeta(25-35)-evoked increase in the calpain level and decrease in the calpastatin level. In addition, Kihi-to inhibited Abeta(25-35)-induced calcium entry.


In conclusion Kihi-to clearly improved the memory impairment and losses of neurites and synapses.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.


BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:49doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-49

Published: 16 August 2008